By Ernest HernandezJust in his second year, former NCAA Most Valuable Player Scottie Thompson has already made heads turn with his unique skill package.
In his rookie year, Thompson initially came off the bench with Ginebra head coach Tim Cone relying on his veteran core. Scottie’s opportunity came in his sophomore year with the former grand slam coach Scottie elevating the fifth overall pick of the 2015 PBA Draft as LA Tenorio’s backcourt partner.
Trusting Cone’s process was essential for Scottie’s early success in the PBA. Everything he learned from his first day will be on full display when Ginebra takes on Meralco in their Governors’ Cup Finals rematch.
“From last year, rookie ako at madadala ko yon coming to this series,” Thompson said. “Medyo may experience na ako sa finals. This is the third time in my early career – thankful ako doon.”
Most teams are already aware of what Thompson brings to the table. This has made him a marked man and Meralco is expected to be ready.
“Siyempre, habang tumatagal, mas-nadadagdagan ang pressure kasi halos lahat nagiging tougher to guard. Especially sa Meralco na halos lahat nag-improve.”
“Yung last talo nila sa Governor’s Cup finals, masakit sa kanila at ready sila to bounce back. Naririnig ko nga sa presscon kanina na marami silang motivation and inspiration – talagang war ito.”
Thompson’s scoring may not impress a lot of people but his contributions will play a big role.
Scottie is arguably the best rebounding guard in the history of the PBA. He averages 5.9 boards a game and has managed to outhustle most big men in the league. Also, his court awareness helps Ginebra rotate the ball better, feeding their twin tower combo of Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar with incredible precision.
Cone expects Thompson to man-up and create the spark that their team will need in order to seal the championship.
“Like Coach Tim said, whoever is the most aggressive team will win. So, yun ang dadalhin namin sa finals at sana maging mas-aggressive pa kami lalo.”